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Model Design Construction's 1/32 scale
Hawker Typhoon Mk.Ib

by Ian Robertson


Hawker Typhoon Mk.Ib

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The Hawker Typhoon was intended as a replacement for the Hurricane in the interceptor role for the British.   When it was introduced in 1941 it was the only Allied fighter capable of speeds higher than the Fw.190 at low altitudes.  However, the Typhoon was plagued by early design flaws and never reached its full potential as a fighter for so long that it was no longer needed in that role.  

Following several design upgrades, the Typhoon’s real forte as a hard-hitting ground attack aircraft was eventually recognized and used to advantage by the Allies.  Fitted with either rockets or bombs, the Typhoon proved very effective against ground targets throughout occupied Europe.   

My model represents a rocket-laden Typhoon Mk.1B poised to strike German targets in France on D-day.  This particular aircraft belonged to No. 609 Squadron flying from Thorney Island in the UK (see photo on pg 16 of Warpaint #5).  Like many early rocket carrying Typhoons, this aircraft had a three bladed propeller.

MDC’s 1/32 scale Typhoon Kit 

In 2005, MDC released its first complete model kit in the form of a resin 1/32 scale Typhoon Mk.1B with teardrop canopy, tempest tailplane, and optional spinner/propellers (3 or 4 blade).  Since that time MDC has released a resin 1/32 Ki-61 Tony, and is set to release a resin 1/32 Arado Ar.234. 

The MDC Typhoon kit features numerous subassemblies molded in light grey resin with finely engraved panel lines.  The kit also contains metal landing struts, a vacuform canopy, and decals for several schemes.  The detailing on the resin parts is superb, and the fit is like what one expects from a mainstream injection-molded kit.  The fact that this kit is resin should not deter modelers interested in building a large scale Typhoon.  However, it is not cheap and some building experience is required.  The instructions are a let-down because they are vague and difficult to read.  I ended up downloading images taken by those who built the kit before me in order to make sense of the finer details of assembly, particularly for the cockpit.   However, the main aspects of assembly are obvious and straight forward to someone familiar with building aircraft models.






Construction begins with the cockpit…..I found this out when I sat down to start the kit and realized that the cockpit was missing from my kit!  My email to MDC was answered in very short order and a replacement cockpit was sent to me at no charge within days (thanks Bob!).  Excellent customer service by MDC, particularly given that a year and a half had passed since I purchased the kit. 



The cockpit consists of several panels of tubular framework, a floor panel, seat, control stick, rudder pedals, and bulkheads.  A minimum amount of cleanup was required for the parts.  I added some wiring and switches etc for the upper cockpit sidewalls since these were bare in the kit. 

I opted to paint the tubular framework RAF interior green, and the sidewalls, armor plate and headrest black.  Some references suggest the entire cockpit should be black, whereas others suggest the tubular framework should be natural metal. 



In any case, there’s not much to see of the cockpit once the fuselage halves are glued together.


Before gluing the fuselage halves together, be sure to add the exhausts and radiator details.



Although gluing the fuselage halves together presented no (apparent) difficulty, several days later I noticed that the tail leaned starboard, throwing the model’s alignment completely out of whack.  This error may have been a consequence of misalignment when I glued the fuselage halves together (i.e., my fault), or perhaps the parts were warped from the outset (i.e., not my fault).  In any case, the real question was how to fix the problem.  I decided to remove the tail (above the horizontal stabilizers) and add a styrene shim on the starboard side to straighten the tail out.  The tail was then reattached with CA glue, and the seam was carefully filled and sanded smooth.  It may seem like major surgery, but the entire process took about 20 minutes and made a huge difference to the look of the model.


Click on the thumbnails below to view larger images:



When dry-fitting the struts and wheels I got the distinct impression that the model would sit low at the nose if I positioned the struts at their proper forward rake.  Indeed, the model sat 8 scale feet at the tip of the spinner (on unweighted tires), but drawings in the Warpaint book (modified from originals by A.L. Bentley) indicated that the aircraft should sit about 9 feet high.  To fix this problem I added a small piece of styrene to the rectangular well that holds each strut (see arrow in photograph).  These pieces of styrene extended the struts enough to raise the nose to its proper height.  I added a metal pin to each strut (see circle) to give the strut greater stability when plugged into the well.  I then used 5 minute epoxy to glue the struts in place.  The extended setting time of the glue gave me time to ensure the struts were properly positioned.



I set the rake of the undercarriage using the drawings in the Warpaint book as a guide.  According to the drawings (and photos), the rear part of the gear door’s lower edge should be more-or-less horizontal with the ground.  In many models this part slants upward to the rear, indicating that the struts are not raked forward enough. 



Also, with proper rake, the center of the wheel hub should align vertically with the rear of the second exhaust stack. 


MDC provides separate wing flaps with lots of internal detail – ideal for displaying the flaps in their dropped position.  However, I couldn’t find any photographs showing a parked Typhoon with its flaps dropped, so I opted to leave mine raised.  In doing so there were some large gaps to fill with strip styrene and putty along the edge of the flap where it meets the wing.  My guess is that the flaps were designed to be displayed down, not up.  

The wheel wells are well detailed and the wings fit solidly into the fuselage.  I faired over the light on the leading edge of each wing, something that most modelers miss when building a rocket carrying Typhoon.  According to Thomas (Warpaint #5, pg 25), and backed up by photos, the wing lights on rocket-carrying Typhoons were faired over because of fear that the Perspex would catch fire from the rockets.  Some later Typhoons apparently had a single wing light.  Check your references. 



Although MDC supplies clear resin for the wingtip lights, I opted to make my own from clear sprue.  A hole was drilled in the back of each wingtip light so that I could add a drop of Tamiya clear red (port light) or green (starboard light).


I was not impressed by the canopy that comes with the kit (the framing was soft and vague) so I replaced it with one from Squadron.  Kent Eckhart provided the canopy I used – Thanks Kent, I hope I can find you a replacement!

Rockets and Rails 

MDC does not supply the rocket assembly with their kit, so you will have to order it as a separate item.  Some of the rails in the set I purchased (item CV32023 - high explosive rockets) were warped, but I corrected the problem by placing the rails in near-boiling water and straightening them out.  I used fishing line with a dollop of white glue on the end to simulate the electrical firing leads.



Painting and Markings


I painted and masked the fuselage tail band and codes using Tamiya RAF Sky (XF-21).  I then painted and masked the invasion stripes using Tamiya White primer and Polly Scale black (with some grey added).  Note that the invasion stripes on this aircraft had rough edges, and that the black stripes did not extend over the upper half of the fuselage. 



I painted the camouflage with Xtracrylix RAF Ocean Grey and Dark Green over Medium Sea Grey.  Although not shown in the photo, the rear decking beneath the canopy was eventually painted black.  The wheel wells were painted with Alclad II duraluminum.  The spinner was first painted duraluminum and then scale black.  I lightly sanded the rear edges of the spinner to expose some of the aluminum.



The serial number for this aircraft is known only as far as the MNxxx block.  I mixed and matched numbers from the MDC decal sheet to create MNx30.  My decals for the fuselage roundels were slightly out of register so I used spares from an Aeromaster sheet. 

Exhaust stains were airbrushed on using highly thinned black Polly Scale acrylic.





A wooden cutting board was used as the base for the model.  Celluclay was used to make the basic ground cover.  The celluclay powder was mixed into a paste with water and white glue, tinted with brown acrylic paint, and then spread thinly over the cutting board.  Note that the cutting board had previously been treated with several coats of clear lacquer to prevent warping while the celluclay dried.  While the celluclay was still wet I added pieces of Heki grass mat (item # 1574 - Wild Grass Savanna) and fine sand.  Heki products are available for purchase in the United States from “Scenic Express”.





Outdoor images were taken with a Nikon Coolpix 5400 digital camera.  The “unsharp mask” tool of Adobe Photoshop was used to restore some of the clarity and crispness lost during image compression.   The “blur” tool was used to help merge the base with the natural background.  Indoor construction shots were taken using a tripod with a Canon EOS 30D fitted with a macro lens. 





  • Scutts, J.  1990.  Typhoon/Tempest In Action.  Squadron/Signal Publications.

  • Shores, C. & C. Thomas.  2004.  2nd Tactical Air Force, Volume 1: Spartan to Normandy.  Classic Publications.

  • Thomas, C.  Warpaint Series #5: Hawker Typhoon.  Hall Park Books.



Additional Images


Click on the thumbnails below to view larger images:


Model, Images and Text Copyright © 2007 by Ian Robertson
Page Created 21 September, 2007
Last Updated 24 December, 2007

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